Friday, June 17, 2011

Nick Blackburn Wins for Twins; Cliff Lee Hurls Two-Hitter; Jones, Schafer Lead Braves

Players of the Day for Thursday, July 16, 2011

American League

Nick Blackburn
Atop the Central division, the Tigers scored a 6-2 decision over Cleveland to take over first place by one game, while at the lower end, Minnesota topped the White Sox, 1-0, furthering the Twins' desire to get back into the race after a forgettable first two months of the season.

Starter Nick Blackburn worked out of repeated jams, allowing eight hits but no runs over eight innings for the Twins, riding Michael Cuddyer's 3rd inning solo home run to his sixth victory over four losses.

Blackburn walked one and struck out just one batter, and Matt Capps earned his ninth save, allowing a hit, but fanning two in a scoreless 9th.

The Twins remain in last place in the division, but are just nine games behind the Tigers. A game in front of them are the Royals, while the White Sox hold third place, 5 1/2 out.

National League

Cliff Lee: Two-Hitter
What's better, a two-hit shutout, five RBI or five hits in a game?
Jones: five RBI

Since the answer is a matter of subjective preference, we present all three, from an entertaining evening in the NL East.

In Philadelphia, Cliff Lee sent the Florida Marlins to their 15th loss in their last 16 games, hurling a two-hit, two-walk complete game shutout in a 3-0 Phillies' win.

Lee threw an incredible 117 pitches for his seventh career shutout, fanning four as he improved to 7-5 on the season.

The win kept the Phillies five clear of the Atlanta Braves, who survived a see-saw battle with the Mets, 9-8, eventually scoring the game-winner on a 10th-inning balk by Mets' pitcher D.J. Carrasco, sending Diory Hernandez, who had replaced Chipper Jones in the 9th inning, to the platter.
Schafer: five hits

Prior to the melodramatic ending, Jones had driven in five runs for the Braves with a first inning ground out, a third inning three-run homer and an RBI single in the 4th. Jones left the game after leaping to field a high chopped by Angel Pagan and throwing wildly to first in the 8th inning. Pagan would eventually score, putting the Mets up 8-6 at the time.

Atlanta tied the game in the bottom of the ninth on Brooks Conrad's two-run homer.

Jordan Schafer had five hits for the Braves, all singles, including his 10th-inning hit that sent Hernandez to third, setting him up to score the winning run.

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